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Eagles Insider Dave Spadaro previews the NFL Annual Meeting

Jake Elliott practices a kickoff inside the NovaCare Complex bubble during the 2023 season.
Jake Elliott practices a kickoff inside the NovaCare Complex bubble during the 2023 season.

We pause.


The Eagles are in Orlando, FL at the NFL Annual Meeting and perhaps the flurry of signings and additions in free agency – 13 new players plus the retention of punter Braden Mann – will stop for a few days.

Then again, maybe not given the fact that Executive Vice President/General Manager Howie Roseman, who will be in a series of meetings along with Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Lurie and Head Coach Nick Sirianni throughout the three days, has been busy in this scenario in the past (signing defensive end Chris Long and cornerback Patrick Robinson during the NFL Annual Meeting in 2017 comes to mind).

Anyway, to catch you up on what is happening in Orlando, where the league executives and the Competition Committee gather, here are some potential rules changes on the table for the 2024 season, including a couple the Eagles are proposing.

Competition Committee Rule Proposals

  • To allow for an enforcement of a major foul by the offense prior to a change of possession in a situation where there are fouls by both teams
  • To include a ruling of a passer down by contact or out of bounds before throwing a pass as a reviewable play
  • To allow a replay review when there is clear and obvious visual evidence that the game clock expired before any snap
  • To eliminate a potentially dangerous tackling technique (hip-drop tackle)
    • If the defender "grabs the runner with both hands or wraps the runner with both arms; and unweights himself by swiveling and dropping his hips and/or lower body, landing on and trapping the runner's leg(s) at or below the knee"
    • The penalty for a hip-drop tackle would be 15 yards and an automatic first down
  • To expand the crackback prohibition to players who go in motion and move beyond the center to block a defender at or below the knee
  • FOR ONE YEAR ONLY: To create a new form of a free kick play that is designed to: (1) resemble a typical scrimmage play by aligning players on both teams closer together and restricting movement to reduce space and speed; and (2) promote more returns. Permits the Replay Official automatically review whether a free kick legally touched the ground or a receiving team player in the landing zone
    • A proposed "landing zone," the area between the receiving team's goal line and its 20-yard line, would prompt action off the kickoff if the ball were to land there
    • Kickoffs that hit the landing zone must be returned
    • Kickoffs that hit the landing zone and then go into the end zone must be returned or downed by the receiving team. If downed, the receiving team would get the ball at its own 20-yard line
    • Kickoffs that go into the end zone and stay inbounds that are downed would give the receiving team the ball at their own 35-yard line. Kickoffs that go out of the back of the end zone (in the air or bounces) would also be a touchback at the receiving team's 35-yard line
    • Kickoffs short of the landing zone would be treated like a kickoff out of bounds and the receiving team would get the ball at its own 40-yard line
    • Kickoffs would remain at the 35-yard line but the remaining 10 players of the kicking unit would line up at the opposing team's 40-yard line. The receiving team would line up with at least seven players in the "set up zone," a five-yard area between their own 35- and 30-yard lines, and a maximum of two returners are permitted to line up in the landing zone
    • Onside kicks will also be played out with the new set up and landing zones under the proposal from the competition committee. The trailing team has the opportunity to declare an onside kick to the officials from the fourth quarter on. Current onside kick rules apply, and if the ball goes beyond the set up zone untouched, the kicking team would be penalized and the returning team's drive would start at the 20-yard line

Club Rule Proposals

  • By the Eagles; to eliminate the first touch spot after the receiving team possesses the ball
    • "First touching" is when a player of the kicking team touches a scrimmage kick in the field of play that is beyond the line of scrimmage before it has been touched by a player of the receiving team beyond the line
    • If the ball is first touched by a player of the kicking team, it remains in play
    • First touching is a violation, and the receivers shall have the option of taking possession of the ball at the spot of first touching, provided no live-ball penalty is accepted on the play, or at the spot where the ball is dead
  • By the Eagles; to permit a team to maintain possession of the ball after a score by substituting one offensive play (4th and 20 from the kicking team's 20-yard line) for an onside kickoff attempt
  • By Detroit; to protect a club's ability to challenge a third ruling following one successful challenge
  • By Indianapolis; to permit a coach or replay official (inside of two minutes) to challenge any foul that has been called

How many will pass? We will know by mid-morning on Wednesday, but which time the NFL's owners, general managers and head coaches vacate Orlando and prepare for the stretch run with the 2024 NFL Draft in sight.

After signing their contracts or extensions, Eagles players showed their personality in front of the camera during an exclusive photoshoot at the NovaCare Complex.

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